In 2013, city leaders and arts and cultural organizations attended a summit to hear strategies that would offer financial lifelines to struggling nonprofits. A vote taken at the end of the meeting favored establishing a solution that combined public and private funds. Four months later Roanoke city council endorsed a plan that would have philanthropists in the private sector founding a nonprofit, to which the city could then contribute. This became the Roanoke Cultural Endowment, which has slowly grown since. Supporters are playing the long game. It’ll take years for the fund to reach the point that it can assist qualifying arts nonprofits with their operating budgets. However, the endowment has started assisting in other ways, such as providing funds for the upcoming Star City Arts Festival.
Pictured: David Crane, executive director of the Roanoke Symphony Orchestra (RSO) addresses a crowd of artists who are participating in the upcoming Star City Arts Festival. The reception was hosted in the RSO offices on Wednesday, July 31. The upcoming festival will encompass performing, visual, culinary, literary, and cultural arts. It is the first event with the Roanoke Cultural Endowment as a sponsor.